Six Farmers Slaughtered in Algeria
ALGIERS, Algeria (AP) _ Assailants believed to be part of an Islamic militant protection racket tortured and slit the throats of six farmers in western Algeria, hospital officials said today.
The six victims _ four men and two women _ were found dead Friday afternoon near their farms close to Tipaza, about 63 miles west of Algiers.
Local residents said the attackers belonged to the Armed Islamic Group, and were running a protection racket in the area.
Western Algeria has been rocked by bombings and killings in recent months. An estimated 75,000 people have died during a six-year nationwide insurgency by Islamic militants.
On Aug. 21, four people were injured when a bomb exploded under the sand at a nearby beach.
Farther west, near the Moroccan border, Algeria’s security forces have been scouring the Ain-Sefra region in search of Islamic militants for the past 10 days.
The newspaper L’Authentique reported today that authorities were hunting about 30 militants. The paper claimed the group was responsible for the slayings last Monday of six Algerian border guards who were ambushed.
Algeria’s insurgency was triggered when authorities canceled elections that the now-banned Islamic Salvation Front was set to win.